The 2019-2020 Graduate Student Award winners have been announced, with Biomedical Engineering students Cort Thompson and Victoria Toomajian recognized for their outstanding work.

Cort Thompson stands in the lab dressed in a lab coat with his arms crossed

Cort Thompson, Purcell Lab

Cort Thompson, a second-year PhD student advised by Dr. Erin Purcell, was awarded the Fitch H. Beach Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research. With his research, Cort aims to provide fundamental understandings of how brain tissue reacts to implanted neural prosthetics by exploring how gene expression is altered in the brain following implantation of different neurotechnologies at acute and chronic time-points. He also aims to understand how the specific features of implants, such as size and material composition, can influence tissue response in the brain, so that in the future it will be easier to design neural prosthetics to have greater fidelity through enhanced bio-compatibility.

Victoria stands in the lab working with a piece of machinery.

Victoria Toomajian, Contag Lab

Victoria Toomajian, a third-year PhD student advised by Dr. Christopher Contag, was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Victoria’s research focuses on the use of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as a therapeutic delivery tool. Her main therapeutic target is the heart post-myocardial infarction, utilizing immune cell-derived EVs for their potential ability to localize to areas of inflammation.

Both awardees will receive stipends, a certificate, and a medal to be work at graduation.